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Old 10-01-2013, 07:42 PM   #1
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Recommendations for toad tail lights

We are setting up our 2004 Chev Tahoe to be towed behind our 2001 DSDP. Are there any recommendations on the best wiring / lighting system I've read about several options including splicing into toad wiring (not excited about that idea), running new wiring and inserting new tail light bulb, magnetically mounted lights and wireless lights (pretty expensive but nice).

Thoughts, recommendations?

Thanks to all!

Ron (@billythedog)

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Old 10-01-2013, 07:54 PM   #2
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Recommend against magnets unless you don't care about paint on toad. Magnets move and scratch:-)

Jim Macy, Ph.D.CH. Hypnotist, Success Coach, Speaker
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:10 PM   #3
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I would recommend the Tow Daddy plug in system. Simply plugs into your trucks existing tail light circuit and run your plug wire to the front. Not as inexpensive as adding extra bulbs but also cheaper than wireless. Go to their website and watch the video.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:17 PM   #4
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I used the BlueOx kit. It doesn't use the existing toad circuitry at all (that was a feature I liked). Comes with new wiring and separate dual-filament bulbs for the tail lights. Had it wired-up in about 90 minutes. \ken

Blue Ox Tail Light Wiring Kit - Bulb and Socket Blue Ox Tow Bar Wiring BX8869
Ken & Deb (WIT Club, FMCA, SKP, Harvest Hosts, and grateful volunteers with SOWERs)
2005 Winnebago Vectra 40FD w/400ISL and Allison 3000MH on Freightliner's Evolution chassis, Onan QD7500, 1000w Renogy solar, BlueOx tow gear, and 2015 Cherokee TrailHawk toad.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:52 PM   #5
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I have used a set of magnetic lights for years. I have the stuff on-hand to put in another set of bulbs and wiring. But I don't find the mag lights enough of a hassle/motivation to raise the priority of installing the bulbs and wiring.
Vince and Susan
2011 Tiffin Phaeton 40QTH (Cummins ISC/Freightliner)
Flat towing a modified 2005 Jeep (Rubicon Wrangler)
Previously a 2002 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37A and a 1995 Safari Trek 2830.
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Old 10-02-2013, 01:07 AM   #6
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Well, you've got plenty of choices. Now, I've done all the wiring on all our toads for decades and have always tied into the factory wiring. I've never had any issues. I've done it on brand new cars like our recently sold toad, a 2011 Honda CRV and, our present toad, a 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 Extended Cab 4x4. This is one of things that, either you feel comfortable with, or you don't. It's that simple. There are no issues if done correctly.

I'm not a fan of all the other alternatives for the simple reason each of the other ways has issues. Magnetic lights have to have "Metal" to be attracted to like trunks, tops, painted surfaces and more. And, they have to be wired some way so, that wire is either permanently setup in the toad and a plug is near the rear or, the wire is draped across the painted surfaces and simply moves, wiggles, etches, scratches the paint at some point.

"Light bars" that attach into the receiver are only marginally improved over the magnetic lights. The wiring still has to be either permanently in place or.... just like the magnetic option.

Wiring in separate bulbs has its issues too. About 99% of the time, the bulbs are placed in the same housing, right next to the stock bulbs. Very rarely, a manufacturer has a separate, segregated, unused section of tail light housing, but, again, that's incredibly rare.

And, you one normally doesn't test this while the two vehicles (coach and toad) but, when at a stand still, and lights are tested prior to a trip, all you'll see in the toad is, the bulbs operating that you installed. But, if the toad has an auxiliary braking system like Ready Brake, Even Brake, Brake buddy and more that move the toads brake pedal, many, if not most toads, will initiate brake lights even without the ignition key in the on position. Many will, some won't.

So, when that happens, unless you've done some thing to alleviate the problem, you'll have two bulbs, sitting right next to each other, in the same housing, that will have conflicting signals being sent to the drivers behind your toad. An example, you're driving down the road, coach and toad, and you put your turn signals on. The new bulb in the housing starts to flash, you apply the brakes 'cause you're about to make a turn, slowing on an off ramp etc. and, that auxiliary brake in the toad, applies the brakes and, you have brake lights, in the same exact tail light housing, right next to a flashing bulb.

These are some of the issues with alternate ways of wiring toads. Many guys are happy with the extra bulb in the tail light housings, many are happy with the magnetic setup, a few are using the "light bar". I've told you of my preferred method, you have lots of choices. Now, I've not tried the newer systems of tying into the factory lights via a "Plug and play" kit, that sounds pretty good. Good luck.
2004 ITASCA HORIZON 36GD, 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4 Toad '08 GL 1800 Gold Wing
Retired-29.5 yrs, SDFD, Ham - KI6OND
Me, Karla and the Sophie character, (mini Schnauzer)
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Old 10-02-2013, 03:42 PM   #7
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I also use a diode kit and tap into to vehicles wiring. It's easy and has worked great on 3 toads. The Blue Ox kits have easy to follow instructions.
Chuck in SW FL
A "Classic" 2014 Anthem 42 RBQ SOLD
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Old 10-02-2013, 04:20 PM   #8
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I use a set of magnetic lights . Works fine. So far, no damage to toad at all. I ran a trailer wire under the toad to the back. When I want to tow, takes 2 minutes to put the magnetic lights on and plug them in.

I struggle with electrical stuff, didn't want to mess with diodes and factory wiring, etc., so using the magnetic lights was the simple decision to me.

Others may wish to do otherwise.
Jim & Kate
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Canada, eh?
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Old 10-02-2013, 04:35 PM   #9
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I too have used magnetic lights. I like them because I used a tow dolley and sometimes tow my car and sosmetimes tow DW car. Care must be taken to protect the paint (if that is an issue) and the wires may be ran which ever way you want.
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Old 10-02-2013, 04:50 PM   #10
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Did our own tap into the vehicle's wiring with diodes and no problems, works great, and I would do it again when needed. It's really not that hard to do, and everything looks and acts stock, whether connected to our RV or not.
Steve & Nancy
2005 Itasca Sunrise 33', W20 Chassis, Ultrapower, Henderson Trac Bar
2012 Chevy Captiva Sport AWD, ReadyBrute Elite Tow Bar, Blue Ox Base Plate, Protect-A-Tow
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Old 10-02-2013, 05:18 PM   #11
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A set of magnetic lights doesn't have to go on the outside of the car. I have mine bungee corded to the rear seat headrests. very visible from behind and they don't scratch anything. Magnets can be removed if you wish, but they aren't hurting anything on my rear shelf so I've left them in place. Wiring goes out though the trunk and zip tied along underneath to front 6 pin socket for umbilical cord to RV.

Bob & Donna
'98 Gulf Stream Sun Voyager DP being pushed by a '00 Beetle TDI
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Old 10-02-2013, 06:26 PM   #12
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I have used three toad lighting methods.

Back in my dolly days, (which were short lived after my vehicle came off the straps while going over some rough road) I used mag lights. I also put separate bulbs in the tail lights but the best overall configuration, IMHO, is to use the existing lights with diodes that are designed for optimium lighting through the toads fresnel lens.

It has been my observation that alternate bulbs in the tail light housing are not positioned to achieve the best operational characteristics of the reflecting parabolic and the associated fresnel lens.

More simply stated the regular tail/brake/signal lights are designed for optimium performance and can be seen better than positioning extra bulbs in the housing. (at least that was the case when I put extra bulbs in one toad)

I have wired several toads with diodes, it is simple, neat and does the job best based on my experience. I like to be able to connect and disconnect my toad in the least amount of time and setting up supplementary lighting systems, such as magnetic lights that takes extra time and effort and if they are external, can be messed with by any vandal that wants to ruin your day. I don't want to mess with these again unless I have to.

Putting the extra lights inside does eliminate the threat of vandals messing with them, but I suspect the field of view might be less than the factory installed lights. (only speculating on this, every installation is likely different)

Bottom line, using diodes with the existing lights works best for me.

I even tapped into my Lic Plate light on my present toad because it was sooooo easy to do. In some places this is required by law, but I have never heard of this law being enforced for a towed car nontheless, it is the law in some jurisdictions. Just a thought. Never did it before and never had any issues in many thousands of driving miles,

Hope my shared experience and comments help.
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:32 AM   #13
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Plug & Play, call them if they don't list your vehicle as they are not all listed.

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lights, toad

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